Milan's research interests focus on population genomics, particularly on genetic variation contributing to evolution, using African cichlid fishes as a model system. Milan is also interested in development of new methodologies for population genomics and for genome assembly. This work is supervised by Dr Richard Durbin at the Sanger Institute.
I have been a PhD student at the Durbin group from September 2012 until September 2015, using whole genome sequence data to study the exceptional diversity of East African cichlid fishes. African cichlids have evolved hundreds of species and an amazing array of phenotypic adaptations within a short period of time. We have sequenced over 100 species from Lake Malawi, observing a rich picture of genome evolution on a timescale that bridges the gap between micro- and macro-evolutionary studies. In particular, I am interested in the genetic basis of adaptive functional differentiation and speciation - the origin of new species. This work contributes to our understanding of how vertebrate genomes evolve and function with likely long term implications for animal and human health.
I have also developed a new method for genome assembly to reduce difficulties caused by heterozygosity by taking advantage of mother-father-offspring trio data. This will be especially useful for generating new genome assemblies in organisms with high heterozygosity, such as insects and marine invertebrates.
Environmental context for understanding the iconic adaptive radiation of cichlid fishes in Lake Malawi.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2016;113;42;11654-11656
Genomic islands of speciation separate cichlid ecomorphs in an East African crater lake.
Science (New York, N.Y.) 2015;350;6267;1493-1498
The genomic substrate for adaptive radiation in African cichlid fish.